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Air Fryer Sizes – What Size Air Fryer Do I Need?

If you’re ready to purchase an air fryer, but don’t know which air fryer size will best serve the needs of your household, we have all the information you need!

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Lamb Chops inside air fryer basket
Lamb Chops in the Air Fryer

Unless you’ve been living completely off the grid, it would be hard to ignore the rise in popularity of air fryer cooking. These versatile countertop appliances have really taken off in recent years.

Getting foods cooked faster and crispier than ever without cranking up your full-sized oven is pretty hard to resist. No wonder these compact convection ovens are becoming indispensable to so many home cooks.

If you’re reading this article, it means you’re seriously considering adding an air fryer to your kitchen. Good for you! You’re about to embark on a new and exciting experience in cooking.

With so many brands, models, and types of air fryer sizes available on the market, how does a person figure out which air fryer size they should buy? 

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To choose the right air fryer for your family, consider the size of your family, the shape of the air fryer you’ll need, and the amount of kitchen space you have available. A large family will likely need an air fryer with a five-quart or higher capacity. A single person will need a minimum of 2 quarts. The air fryer size that best fits your cooking needs is the one to buy.

Let’s break this air fryer size selection process down to help make things as clear and easy for you as possible.

How do I choose the right air fryer?

Small to Medium Air Fryers

One of the main things to consider when looking at air fryer sizes is the type of foods you plan to cook. 

For example, let’s say you’re a tater tot and mini egg roll fan and just want an air fryer so you can quickly make the most perfect, crispy snacks ever. 

A small to medium-sized air fryer will do a fabulous job for you. In this cooking scenario, it doesn’t much matter what shape the basket of your air fryer is. Since bite-sized snacks are pretty small, you can put several into any shape basket and get a good result. 

Small families and single individuals can manage fine with a smaller air fryer size and will not have to sacrifice as much counter or storage space.

Medium to Large Air Fryers

If you plan to roast vegetables, such as whole carrots, or asparagus, you’ll need an air fryer basket large enough to accommodate the lengths of these types of vegetables.

A small, round basket won’t work for air frying/roasting longer veggies or a slab of ribs, because the food simply won’t fit. Other foods, like whole chickens or roast beef, require a more spacious family-sized air fryer to accomplish your meal preparation goals too.

So pay close attention to how you plan to incorporate your new air fryer into the daily cooking routine of your kitchen. Is this new appliance going to be used for snacks only or for family meals too?

The amount of people you’ll be cooking for is an important factor when choosing an air fryer size. If your family is large, you’re going to be happiest with a large air fryer that provides plenty of space for air frying family meals.

Just make sure you have adequate room in your kitchen for safely operating, ventilating, and storing a bigger air fryer.

Tips for picking the best air fryer for you

Get recommendations

Here are links to three top air fryer models including my favorite.

These are top sellers and well-loved by air fryer cooks. Looking at them and their special features will get you started.

Bigger is usually better

Always choose an air fryer that is bigger than you think you need. Once people realize how versatile an air fryer is, most of them will upgrade from small air fryers to larger models within one year of buying one.

A more spacious appliance can eliminate or reduce the need to cook food in multiple batches.

Look for savings

After you decide which size air fryer you’d like to buy, shop around online and in stores. You can save yourself a lot of money by paying attention to special deals, sales, and rebates. Why pay more than you need to?

I find that Amazon has pretty good deals around the holidays and even randomly throughout the year! I post about these deals in my free Air Frying Facebook group.

What exactly should you be looking for when deciding on the right-sized air fryer?

Size and Shape

Select an air fryer that is shaped and sized right for cooking the types of foods you plan to cook the most. A snacks-only air fryer is going to be different from an air fryer that will be used for regular meal preparations.

There is also the circle versus square problem when it comes to air fryers. Many square shapes or air fryers with racks will allow for pans to be placed in them. Circles are better for snacks or smaller foods that can be cooked quickly and evenly. 

I recommend a square or rectangle air fryer unless you know you will only make small foods inside.

The capacity of the Air Fryer

Think about how large or small the meals are that you usually prepare and serve in your household and how many people you will be cooking for. Cooking capacity will greatly influence which size air fryer you need to purchase.

If you’re a college kid just looking for a little appliance to heat up food, small air fryer sizes are okay. But if you are a family of 4, you’ll need a larger air fryer for sure.

Counter Space

Evaluate how much physical space you have for an air fryer in your kitchen. Will this appliance sit out on the counter all the time or will it need to be stored away in the cupboard or closet? Your appliance needs to be big enough to cook food for your entire household, yet compact enough to fit in your kitchen.

What air fryer size is good for a single person?

A small or compact air fryer, somewhere between 1-2 quarts is usually a good choice for an individual with living space limitations.

The shape of these air fryers is usually circular. This size and shape can cook a meal for one person or snacks for two people.

Here are my suggestions when purchasing this size:

Do you need a small air fryer? Learn more about the best small air fryers to buy and what to look for in each one here.

What size Air Fryer Do I Need for a Family of 2?

For a family of two, an air fryer size of 3-4 quarts is generally recommended.

This size lets you cook two servings of chicken or fish fillets and still leaves room for some vegetables on the side. It’s a great size for reheating leftovers and cooking frozen foods to crispy yumminess.

I recommend one of two models for this size.

What Size Air Fryer Does a Family of 3 Need?

A typical family of three will do well with an air fryer size of between 4 and 5 quarts.

This Ninja 4 quart Air Fryer is a very good choice for a family of three. If your family of 3 cooks large meals, it’s a good idea to size up to an air fryer that is over 5 quarts.

What Size Air Fryer For a Family of 4?

A 5.8 Quart air fryer or larger is a good size for a family of four with young children. I recommend going larger if you have teenagers or kids that are big eaters.

This size is the most frequently bought, so there are lots of options for you to choose from. Take a look at these popular models.

Here are some of my favorite 5.8-quart air fryers. Keep reading for larger options.

What Size Air Fryer Do I Need for a Family of 6?

For a family of 5 or more, you’ll want to buy as big of an air fryer as you can for your counter space. Even a 6 quart may be a little too small for 6 people, especially if you want to make main dinner dishes in the air fryer (trust me, you will).

Here are a few of my favorite larger air fryers:

For a more in-depth look at these and more best large air fryers to buy, check out this post.

What Size Air Fryers are Available?

The most common size air fryers range from 3.7 quarts to 5.8 quarts, but they can also be as small as under 2.0 quarts and as large as 12 quarts, and even bigger.

I recommend choosing a larger model from the get-go. I can’t tell you how many people will buy smaller, realize how amazing an air fryer is, then decide to upgrade within a year!

Take a look at my article on the Best Large Air Fryers for some excellent tips and information when shopping for a bigger model air fryer and my Best Small Air Fryers post for those looking for something smaller and more cost-efficient.

Summing it Up! 

The bottom line is that you get to decide which air fryer size will fit your family cooking needs the best. Pay attention to the things you like to cook and the number of people in your family. Also important is your available kitchen space and budget. Please check out my air fryer articles and recipes and please let me know if you found this article useful. Happy cooking!


About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

10 thoughts on “Air Fryer Sizes – What Size Air Fryer Do I Need?”

  1. Air fryers have their capacity rated in Litres.Ever heard of them ?
    Nobody in the whole world rates capacity in Quarts.
    Where on earth were you educated ?

    • Hello, the USA where I am located uses a quart system and does not measure their air fryers in liters. Most things are not measured in liters here at all. I recommend educating yourself before claiming you know everything.

    • Good for you. I don’t use liters either. I have a 4 quart Insta Vortex fryer with square food area. Trying to figure out which size bake pan to use for the 7 inch interior and the more I read the more confused I get.

      Love your emails on this subject.

    • Hi Jann, what kind of baking pan are you looking for? Like a bread pan, square, circular cake pan, or something different?

  2. Hi Samantha,
    I am fairly new to the air fryer style of cooking. I used to “fix” things to eat so I discovered that “fixing” things to eat using an air fryer, makes them taste “way better”!
    Another motto I have is “if it takes longer to prepare the food for cooking than it takes to cook it, I don’t make it” I guess you have figured out I am single! Question: all of your pictures of food cooked in an air fryer shows no AF baskets or AF liners. Should we not use these silicone liners/baskets? I hate cleaning the AF and the liners/baskets keep the Air Fryer clean. I have a 3-ring binder of more than 100 of your rescipies which I enjoy!

  3. I am presently looking to purchase a Ninja 6 qt. air fryer for myself or one-person household. Problem is, most every site I visit base the size of the fryer on family size. In no disrespect, while that may work for many looking to purchase an air fryer, I would like to know what size/capacity in quarts is required to accommodate a 3 lb rotisserie chicken similar to that sold at Costco. Your response to this inquiry is most appreciated. Also, as for the person posting the comment regarding ‘liters’ as opposed to quarts, how rude to add ‘Where on earth were you educated’. I for one am a baby boomer born in 1949 and a former graduate of Purdue University with a MS in math. This noted, I am curious to know what planet this person is from and where they were educated!

    • I get you’re looking for an air fryer that’s a good fit for a single-person household. Generally, a 6-quart one should handle a 3lb rotisserie chicken like Costco’s. As for the rude comment I would disregard it because your background sounds impressive and you certainly bring valuable contributions to the discussions here. Thank you for your inquiry!

    • It all depends on the surface area of the basket. I recommend measuring the cake and bread pans you want to use and then going from there. Some 5 qts are much narrower or circular than others.

  4. Hi all.
    For those who use Litres, a US Quart is very slightly less than a litre…..so basically call them the same.


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